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a better woman

by Lauren Singer

i could be a better woman, i know.
i could peel off layers of dead skin
and comb my hair,
i could weave braids of lilies in my hair
and stroke the soft skin of your underbelly
with my fingernails, squared and clean.

i could tremble under your touch
and be scared of spiders.
i could weary-eyed wonder where you are
and why my bed is empty, warding off sleep
until you fill me with a wanton hope of eternity.
i could be better at apologies,
accepting and offering.

i could make mince-meat pies
and wear heeled shoes so when you came home
i would always look ready,
always offer you a whiskey and you would know
that i loved you by the two ice-cubes
floating in your drink,
plucked delicately from their trays
and placed just so that they stuck
together sensibly, clacking your teeth
in a way you knew was meant for you.

i could be so much better, i know.

but i will not be her.
i will always be this haphazard kind of lover,
threatening you with violence and
throwing vases from your cliched flowers
at the bathroom door when you
arrive two hours late to tell me that
you picked these on your way.

i will always be chanting voodoo curses
in your direction when you fall asleep
before you fuck me and when you wake
i will be asleep, and my mouth will be open
and i may very well be snoring and you just might
have to pull apart the chapped-lip residue
from my mouth before you kiss me in the morning
because that is who i am.

i can wear this dress,
but you'll still know how smudged i am
underneath it.


Posted on 04/20/2011
Copyright © 2020 Lauren Singer

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by George Hoerner on 07/03/11 at 02:02 AM

It always amazes me how we all so often do not know the person we are supposed to be closest to including ourselves. Nicely done lady.

Posted by Felicia Aguilar on 07/31/11 at 01:39 PM

This is brilliant. I have no other words for it. The last couple of stanzas, especially. I am that woman, too.

Posted by Carolyn Coville on 08/24/11 at 11:29 AM

Love this!

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